Artist's description:

Back in November 1981, whilst freelancing as a publicity stills photographer for Thames Television in the UK, I was assigned to the Agatha Christie drama-murder series which was on location for a week at the famous Bluebell Railway in East Sussex.

During one lunch break I was able to do a bit of my own photography because the weather, being particularly overcast with a fine drizzle blowing in, was imposible for filming continuity. However, the light was flat, soft and from my point of view ideal for product photography. And what a product! A 100-tonne oily, steel machine, quietly belching smoke and steam, namely a Southern Railway Maunsell U-Class 2-6-0. I set-up my 5x4 inch Wista field camera and looked at the potential of the locomotive's very interesting valve gear.

I had two large-format lenses in my camera-bag... a wide-angle Nikkor 90mm f/4.5 (equivalent to a 25mm lens on 35mm format) and a slightly long standard Nikkor 210mm f/5.6 (60mm on 35mm) which I used here. An initial exposure reading for the shadow detail was taken from the centre of the driving wheel - highlight readings being taken from the shiny shaft of the piston (lower right in picture). Between clouds of steam - and there was a lot about, it being a cold, damp winter's day - two sheets of FP4 were exposed - one for "Normal" development with the second sheet kept in reserve for "Normal + 1" development if required (and it was... ideally I should have shot more!)

Half surprisingly, or maybe as expected, one sheet developed in Kodak HC-110 dilution “B” produced a thin negative... so I processed the second sheet for 33% longer than the original development time. Although I still had a thinnish negative it was just about right for the dark, heavy effect I visualised.

In 1981 my enlarger was a 5x4 inch Durst condenser-type and extracting the maximum detail from this negative was difficult and generally unrewarding. Roll on almost twenty years to the late 1990s and I was using the latest Durst 1200 Laborator Multigraph closed-loop enlarger which, with a swish of the exposure probe across the projected image on the baseboard easel, recommended a paper grade of 2.8 (slightly harder than a normal grade) and an exposure time of only 2.54 seconds with my 150mm f/5.6 El-Nikkor stopped down to f/11... as I said, the negative was indeed thin.

It is not really possible to feel the strength of the image on a PC screen at 72 or 90 dpi... but viewed properly the print demonstrates the advantages of the large-format regime of 5x4 inch sheet film coupled with a programmed “closed-loop” enlarger.

If you are a large-format photographer, or loco buff, and are interested in owing a limited print of this image I still have five archivally made selenium-toned silver-gelatin prints from the 1999 Edition of ten (my best edition, and unlikely to be reprinted by me as I have retired my darkroom and from printing work). It’s a signed 12 x 9.5 inch image on 15 x 11.5 inch Agfa Multicontrast Classic paper (Note: This is NOT a C-type machine print) priced at only 240 euros including postage to anywhere in the world.

Materials used:

Silver negative and chemicals

Loco Valve Gear (1999)

$288.95

  • Artwork description
  • Shipping
  • Returns and refunds
    We want you to love your art! If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase you can return it free within 14 days, no questions asked. Learn more
  • Make an offer on this artwork

This artwork is sold by Ed Buziak from France

×
Would you like 10% off?

Your regional settings

Excellent - Five stars - Trustpilot